The meteorological date for the official start of spring is March 1st and now that both the mornings and evenings are getting noticeably lighter, it feels like spring is not far away. All the fruit growing on the farm which supplies our Fabulously Fruity wine has benefitted from the colder weather we have experienced since early January. The cold weather makes the fruit plants go dormant which therefore increases their vigour when they do start growing again, along with helping to control weeds and pests that cannot survive the frosty weather.
Compared to other parts of the country North East Lincolnshire has faired quite well this winter. Now that all the bush and cane pruning, new planting and transplanting has been completed all of our fruit looks in good condition. The last planting job will be to replace the strawberry plants we grow on our table-top system. A table-top growing system works by planting strawberry plants in grow bags which are suspended on heavy duty wires between metal supports approximately 1.2 meters off the ground. All the water and plant nutrition is fed into the bags through an irrigation system. This year we will be planting a variety called Finesse. 4000 plants will be planted in mid April. Growing strawberries in this way has several advantages to traditional field growing. Namely significantly less weed and pest competition along with being much easier to pick as it involves no bending down!
The weather is the major factor in successful fruit growing which you can obviously have no control over but as long we have done everything physically possible a good year should be ahead of us. This is increasingly important as our fruit business continues to grow. A years worth of work goes into a 6 week period to pick and sell the fruit and it is especially important for our Fabulously Fruity wine as we only have one chance to harvest enough fruit for a whole years worth of wine production.
Now we are in this position we can cross our fingers that the sun will shine on us!